Clienteling has become a bit of a buzzword recently. At Clientbook we’d like to think we’ve played a small part in evangelizing this message. After all, we’ve come to be known as “The Clienteling Company.” That’s cool with us since we built our entire business aimed at helping retailers.
So what is clienteling? By definition it’s “a technique used by retail sales associates to build long-term relationships with key customers.” What retailer wouldn't want long-term, repeat customers?
With this in mind, we’d like to share four “core pillars” every retailer must adopt in order to be successful with clienteling. These clienteling pillars are: Consolidate, Simplify, Automate, and Insights. Let’s look at each in more detail.
The first pillar is Consolidate. When it comes to customer data, the current state of retail is a bit of a mess. Retailers have data in multiple silos (notebooks, spreadsheets, 3rd party messaging apps, point of sales systems, and more) making it difficult, if not impossible to effectively clientele.
By consolidating all the customer data and brining important information into one place is a good recipe for less sales associate frustration. Now, this doesn’t mean you necessarily need one piece of technology to do it all, but it is important that these systems talk and share information. A good place to start is by identifying all the different place sin which your client information currently resides.
Second is Simplify. What we mean here is that in order to have clienteling success, you need to make things easy for your sales associates. Knowing who to send a follow up reminder to shouldn’t take all day. Having client information in one place will certainly help, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know when to reach out and to whom.
The right clienteling tool will enable sales associates to never miss a customer follow-up by automatically creating task reminders based on staff and store best practices. Putting common tasks like sending reviews and payment links or creating wish lists right at the fingertips of your sales associates will make life so much easier for them. They’ll thank you.
Third is Automate. For most retailers, clienteling isn’t done consistently simply because it’s too manual, too time-consuming, and impossible to scale when you have thousands of clients.
A good sales associate has between 500 and 1,000 clients, depending on the industry. That’s a lot of personal notes, texts, and emails to write; and a lot of anniversaries, service dates, product updates, even names to remember.
So how do you automate personalized service while keeping it personal?
You don’t automate the whole thing. You enter key information, set key reminders, and automate tasks that lead to personal interaction. Most importantly, you take the data you’ve collected and use it to create a sequence for the post-sales journey. Hitting them with the right message at the right time will bring them back to the store again and again, while freeing up the sales associate from the manual “grunt work” allowing them to do what they do best - sell.
Fourth is Insights. You can’t change or fix what you can’t measure. All of those client interactions and engagements create a powerful history and should give you actionable data, enabling you to make better decisions when you are buying products and planning sales events. Having this information easily accessible in one place saves you a lot of headaches and allows you to set trackable goals.
Equally important is having the ability to measure and track every aspect of your sales process and the activities of your sales associates.
Retailers who master the art of clienteling see as much as 33% more in annual sales revenue. And what customers see is a retailer who knows them, who recommends products that complement past purchases, and who knows when they are buying.
This is clienteling 101 – building on-going and sustainable relationships with customers, and in order to do it successfully consider the four pillars we introduced. Evaluate where you stand by asking yourself these questions:
In how many different places is our client information? (Consolidate)
Have we made things easy for our sales associates, so theynever miss a follow-up? (Simplify)
What tasks can we automate so we can grow? (Automate)
How are we measuring success? (Insights)